Alright, well, I don't post in this section often, but I've got a solid start to a novel. yes, it's only 1.75 chapters (the second chapter is not complete) however, I have an entire storyboard done and I have a solid plan for what will occur and the order of events. I'm not going to ruin the ending for anyone and I do plan on getting this published when I finish (probably be at least a couple years)
I'd really like comments on my writing style at this point. Is it readable? How is the pace? Is it insulting the user with too many details or is it too vague on any points?
I started this story once before, got 35 pages done and deleted the whole thing to re-start. I am much happier with the direction this one is going in. You'll notice that the world is similar to our own, but holds a number of small differences. Money is called pressings and is completely coin-based. Cars and other modern aspects exist, but the ruling system is completely different from our own. Governing is left mostly to local bodies and the layer above that is much less influential. It's not a perfect system and it does have similarities to our own, but it's no worse than the methods used in our world.
Computers also exist and they are sleightly more powerful than we know them today. The general population of their world, however, is lower than on earth which means that cities are a little further apart and there are more rural areas throughout the world. There's more un-tamed space.
Industry exists (of course, based on what I've already said, it must), but is more ecological than on our planet and means that environmental concerns exist, but are not huge problems.
Anyhow, enjoy what I have so far, feedback is appreciated.
Itâ€™s dark enough to make me believe that sight is just a half-remembered figment of my imagination. This place seems oddly familiar, though I canâ€™t remember anything specifically about the events leading up to this moment. I canâ€™t even really remember who I am. I blink, though itâ€™s too dark to tell save by feel, and attempt to focus on something, anything. The darkness yields no secrets. Iâ€™m aware of my eyelids and little else in the room. I canâ€™t feel the rest of my body. I wait patiently and wonder if this is what itâ€™s like to die.
I feel a burning somewhere and realize itâ€™s in my chest, my lungs. Iâ€™ve been holding my breath, though Iâ€™m unsure of the reason. A staggering, sucking gasp sounds as my lungs struggle to take in the heavy, sweet air. I cough, feeling a moment of panic as I realize I canâ€™t breathe in again and the last of my air is escaping. I suck air again, my lungs unused to breathing. Again that putrid-sweet smell permeates my body. I force myself to recover, breathing in regular, measured breaths. The smell makes me gag, nothing to vomit but clear liquid. My eyes feel both dry and sticky.
Itâ€™s like the clinging smell of long-dead road kill that attaches itself to the bottom of your car on a hot summer day. Itâ€™s not the smell of a butcher shop. The air is not crisp, the smell is not from blood alone, and it is not that clean. Itâ€™s that juicy, sweaty, half-digested smell. This is the kind of smell that draws carrion and maggots to finish the job. I cannot stay here, I have to leave.
As air returns to my brain, my head clears enough that I can push myself into a sitting position with my elbows against the damp, rocky floor. Invisible pins stab at my right arm as circulation returns to my fingers painfully. Cradling my arm, I strain to see where I am. Thereâ€™s no light, itâ€™s hopeless. Iâ€™ve no clue where I am, I feel as if I havenâ€™t eaten in weeks, and I canâ€™t even see my prison. Suddenly I hear a sobbing sound projected off of something to my right. Perhaps I am not alone. It takes me a full three seconds to realize that those were my own pitiful noises echoed back to me. I must be in a cave for the echoes to sound so sharp and real.
I shift to a more comfortable position and sit on what feels like a stout, flat rock. As I shift I hear something metallic fall out of my pocket. I pick up a round, thin coin and deftly maneuver it between my digits as I think to myself. It flits back and forth and I can see it in my mind. An image forms in my mental eye of where my hand and the coin should be based on the physical sensations. I toy with the idea of a golden coin in my right handâ€™s fingers, though I doubt that it is one, before turning my thoughts towards the more important task at hand.
The smell and feel of the air still registers in my senses. I almost hope not to discover what it is. I let my mind wander as I watch the coin flit gracefully across the imagined image of my fingers. Iâ€™ll let the image sharpen to keep from dwelling on the repugnant odor.
My name isâ€¦ I push through a barrier. Thereâ€™s a birthday, fourteen candles set up just for me. The cake is the only thing in focus, but I strain to see the rest of the room instead. People surround me, itâ€™s a happy time. I smile to myself in the cave. â€œHappy birthday dear Tri-am,â€ my name is Triam and it is echoed on the cake in sloppy writing with birthday wishes, â€œhappy birthday to you!â€ I try to see the blurry faces; I try to recognize something as I blow out the candles and am returned to darkness. Iâ€™ve remembered nothing but my first name.
I open my eyes to the darkness of my cave again. â€œTriam opens his eyes,â€ I speak hoarsely to myself, surprised at my own voice. Iâ€™m not sure if it came out right, but I donâ€™t care. The contrast in hearing the words in the quiet allows me a new awareness of the sounds around me. I yawn to clear my ears and hear water dripping in the distance. I shift in my spot, but hesitate as I realize the danger. Iâ€™m not sure of my surroundings. A sudden drop from an unseen crevice in the floor could be fatal if I simply left this spot in search of a noise that could very well be an echo of an echo from kilometers away in the opposite direction. Itâ€™s impossible to tell from sound alone. I should not trust my ears in this place just as I would not trust my eyes in a house of glass and mirrors.
Iâ€™m standing in line at the fair with a friend. This was just last summer, I was twenty years old. I remember a peck on the cheek and turning to I look into the eyes of the one I loved. This beautiful woman was the one he was banded to. Larianaâ€™s eyes were like trying to see your reflection in a vibrant tropical sea, then getting lost in the attempt. Alive, bright, almost like folded electricity around the iris. I tossed a playful grin her way and we stepped into a dusty, poorly constructed haunted house. I regretfully return to the present.
These fragmented memories are important, but useless to my current situation. I need to remember who I am, but how I got here and how to leave are more urgent. I focus my energy, on the task at hand and my mind goes blank. I need to know. I need to remember. I stare hard at the coin as it bounces to the floor in my frustration. I surprise myself with how clear it and my hand have become to my senses. My memories hide. Nearly tangible, like that word youâ€™ll never quite remember without some help. But there is nobody else here, there is no help. Iâ€™m not sure how I know, but itâ€™s true. I could die here alone and nobody would find me. I let the fact sink in.
My hand fades back into darkness as I let the constructed image of it go. Iâ€™m never getting out of here. Iâ€™m too afraid to even move off of this fucking rock. I slam my fist down in frustration and despair and it lands on something hard. It is no rock, the shape is too perfect. I have not slammed my fist down in anger on the coin, but on something else. This object is cold and metallic like the coin was upon first picking it up, but heavier and shaped like a tiny box. I feel across its sides with my fingers. It is perfectly smooth except for straight hairline cut across the middle that extends the whole way around and a few scratches on the side that was on the rocks when I hit it. The box is about as tall as my thumb, half as wide as it is tall, and then half as deep as it is wide. The smooth metallic object is oddly heavy for its size.
I puzzle over the thing, and realize that it must have fallen out of my pocket with the coin. I push the top open with my thumb almost instinctually and snap my eyes closed quickly as light fills the area. Iâ€™ve just opened a very nice lighter. I can see my eyelids lit up from the back, and even this filtered light is almost too much for my darkness-fed lenses. Slowly I work open my eyes to view my surroundings. The light hitting my eyes is physically painful, but I force my surroundings to become clear.
This is a cave, much as I expected, and I seem to be in a larger open area with various tunnel entrances connecting to it. Smooth edges define this cave system and show the wear of ancient waterways that have left their mark. The flickering light casts many shadows, but also causes light to dance off of ancient crystals beautifully. Small rainbows play over the cave walls forming and fading as the small flame licks the putrid air experimentally. Immediately my horrified gaze fell on a gruesome sight. A body lay crumpled in a pool of its own blood and urine only five feet from where I now sit. Leaning over, I wretch more liquid from my empty stomach as dry, salty tears stream down my face. I collapse pitifully in my own clear puke and the lighter snaps shut casting me into darkness. I lay there for a long time too weak and horrified to move. Suddenly my mind recoils as if burned. I roll over, arch my back and clasp my head. I feel broken, my mind buckles and then something snaps. Memories come surging back painfully into my mind as if theyâ€™ve discovered that itâ€™s safe to come out of hiding.
I had been chased here by the man laying dead in this cave. He had been sent to find me, I can remember that now. Just as I start trying to piece things together, another wave of memories washes over me. My mind is yanked backwards through the tunnel system and into the blinding light of a dream.
"We can be richer than industry as long as we know that there are things that we don't really need." -Willy Mason